Uncertain future for businesses as proposal made to demolish and replace Ramsgate High Street building

The application is to demolish the building and create a new site - leaving businesses with an uncertain future

Tenants in a row of shops on Ramsgate High Street are facing an uncertain future due to a landlord application to demolish the whole block and rebuild it as 5 smaller shops and 40 flats.

The application submitted by JDP (Ramsgate) Limited is to demolish 60-68 High Street and 1 to 11 George Street which comprises the Pilgrims Hospice shop, Sugar Rush, Cats in Crisis and Simply Danish furniture shop.

The proposal is for shops at ground level and 34 one-bed , 4 two-bed and 2 three-bed flats with refuse and cycle stores and external play space. Car parking provision is not included in the application.

Corner site image Kudos ADS

One business tenant says the first they heard of the plans was when they were alerted to a public notice for the application.

The application documents state that the applicant is “fully committed to retaining their existing tenants” and is negotiating the purchase of a larger unit for one tenant and will offer “new units or an offsite alternative” to remaining tenants.

But Cats in Crisis director Mary Knott says the charity has to move out as the new landlord is not renewing their lease.

She said: “The landlord won’t renew our lease which has now come to an end but we are on a couple of months reprieve.  In the meantime, we are frantically looking for somewhere else in Ramsgate.  There is one possibility, but it is much smaller so at the moment we are busy moving our excess goods, which are normally stored above the shop, into storage units.

“I feel very sad for the remaining shops, which have spent a lot of money doing their places up.  Not like us – we do everything on a shoestring because we need the money for the cats.

“It is proving very stressful and time-consuming at a time when our rescue work is struggling with all the abandoned and unwanted cats that need to come in.   Very few new homes are on offer as people are reluctant to take on new financial commitments but the number of animals needing to come in due to evictions is heartbreakingly high and we feel so guilty that we are having to refuse.  I know it’s not just us and rescues everywhere are having the same problems.”

Another of the businesses affected is Sugar Rush which moved into the venue in 2020 and completely renovated what had been an empty unit for a number of years into a performing arts and community space and shop.

Business owner Heidi Moran is appealing for people to object to the plans.

She said: “The top of the High Street is just starting to thrive with galleries, shops, cafes and more.

“The disruption would be immense to surrounding businesses- road closures, noise, no access to the public car park behind and dust for months.

“Where are the facilities to support this many new “luxury flats?” Doctors, dentists, hospitals are already full or stretched. Schools already don’t have enough places for current local children. Most flats will have 1-2 cars, where will these cars park?

“Our building is a real community hub- We support youth services with a performing arts school for 250 children from walking to 18 years, we have an LGBTQ2+ space with coffee shop, our boutique houses many local creators and makers, we host Art Marts events for local artists, inclusive poetry nights, sober socials, vintage markets, parent and toddler facilities, adult creative and movement classes and are a safe space for local people.

“We were one of the venues for Ramsgate Festival of Film and TV and will also host Ramsgate Festival of Sound. We are home to Thanet Vocal Collective Social Singing Group and lots of other local groups. We have raised funds to get what was an empty building for 15 years, to the fantastic building we now have.

“Please help us to save these buildings and stop this disruption in the area.”

Aerial view image Kudos ADS

Planning documents for the proposal state: “The new commercial space will be divided into smaller commercial units. The residential aspect of this proposal will be generally accommodated upon the upper floor levels; however part of the George Street commercial accommodation will be residential use.

“It is envisaged the building will be demolished to ground level. However, the footprint of the building will be constructed over the footprint of the existing foundations.

“The development will provide for 5 new commercial units all with their own bin storage areas. All will be provided with their own entrance and secondary exit. The dedicated residential entrance located upon George Street and Meeting Street.

“All existing commercial tenants will be offered alternative accommodation that is available from the JP Group portfolio. Pilgrims Hospice occupy by far the largest tenancy and have indicated that their business would benefit from larger premises. JP (Ramsgate) is currently negotiating the purchase of a large commercial building adjacent to the site which will provide the charity with sufficient space. Once converted the ground floor units will be offered to tenants on a commercial tenancy.”

‘Diversify to survive’

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JDP (Ramsgate) Limited says the flats will be energy efficient and built to ‘lifetime homes’ standard. They say town centre properties need to ‘diversify’ to survive. The application includes a mapping of vacant marketed retail space in the town (above).

The planning document says: “The character of Ramsgate Town Centre like other high streets is currently subject to significant substantial change. We must recognise that large town centre shops are on the decline and in order to survive as a commercial shopping centre these large buildings must diversify and seek alternative sustainable uses in order to survive.

“It is therefore necessary for the retail aspect to reduce in size and find more sustainable uses that will help them to become more flexible in these challenging times. The proposal has undergone a comprehensive design and assessment to establish both the design principles for the site, and to ensure minimal impact to the amenity of the area.

“The applicant is fully committed to retaining their existing tenants. The applicant is currently negotiating the purchase of a larger unit which has been requested by one of the tenants and would offer a more suitable location. The remaining tenants will be offered the new units or an offsite alternative.”

A decision on the application is yet to be made.

Find the application at https://planning.Thanet.gov.uk/online-applications/  and search reference F/TH/22/0979

51 Comments

    • Hey i am not really in favour or the change of use but there is a public carpark just behind the proposed development. More cash for tdc parking and their contractor.

      Hopefully tdc will make changes to all of their public car parks and install electric charging points to every parking bay.

    • Hey, there is a pubic car park owned by tdc, just behind the proposed development.

      More cash for the current parking contractor and tdc, its all about the cash ~

      • Perhaps D. Brown will give us a definition of “ghetto” which explains why he /she thinks Ramsgate is now a ghetto whereas in the past (in his/her opinion) it was not.

    • Go to most fair size towns now and they are looking for spaces to develop these large buildings close to the town flats for mostly younger generations. It represents a change in people not having children for longer and wanted to be much better connected to areas to socialise.

      Also having large residential buildings close to the town represents a potential spike in business locally

  1. Good luck with your development, it makes a lot of sense,smaller units to rent ,modern flats ,this person is looking at the future, l rather this then keep building on our farmland, you have my backing 👍

    • It’s much better to have people living in the town than have them living in newbuild houses and flats on what used to be agricultural land.

    • But love farmland is being built upon regardless soon we just be just buildings
      No school
      No hospital
      Feck all in fact
      I oppose

  2. Think that large site has been on the commercial market for a long ,its not a secret it was up for sale.
    Maybe the site owners were waiting for ramsgate to gift them some of the future high st fund.
    Now that tdc/ramsgate has decided which one (1 as in 1 only) unused shop front property will get around £1m funds for re purposing to work/creative/space on the high street.
    The remainder of the high st fund £1.6m is for other small improvements And making it easier to cross a major road to make walking to and from the harbour much safer/easier.
    I like that idea/

    The levelling fund is another issue, most is going to the port/harbour area including refurbishment of a ro~ro berth maybe 4/5 ?

    citation, accepted.

    All the information was mentioned here on iotn with links, the links will be old now and maybe superseded.

    Hey tdc, well done (again)

  3. You get residential permits to park in the Car Park behind!

    Also where at the top of the high street is thriving??
    Because I walked had the unfortunate pleasure of walking up the full length of the Hihh Street and the only thing thriving were feral hoodie rats and drunks!

    Used to be a nice parade of shops there when Dixons, Mothercare and Contessa were there but now its pop up shops.

    The town needs too much money to make it look nice and that’s because of neglect.

    Next time you walk past the Post Office have a look up and the wonderful old building and see the state it’s in.

    That says everything about the state of towns left to be run by people only interested in making money for themselves or the self praising people!

  4. I have often walked along the High Street and not seen bad behaviour/ drunks. Perhaps that’s because I go there during the day.

  5. Knocking down buildings and disrupting businesses seems so backward. These building are structurally sound?

    I’m shocked so many on these comments are in favour.

    • We chose to import another 696 immigrants yesterday and therefore we are obliged to provide them with accommodation.

      As the trend continues, more and more buildings will need to be converted to residential use – and of course continued building on farmland.

      • Ah a project fear doom mongerer.

        How many brits became ex pats yesterday?

        And I think you’ll find a whole lot more than 700 arrived yesterday. That was from one illegal route because we refuse to actually take an active role in sorting the issue we have “schemes” to appeal to people like you that cost millions but don’t actually do anything. Just to make you feel better. Clearly you don’t feel better.

        Be afraid of the outsiders. Foreigners ruin England. Down from Londoners ruin Kent.

        Am I right?!?

        Yeah.

  6. Sorry Marva but do you have a guide dog??

    You are beyond the joke and must be a keyboard warrior with a cracking sense of humour

  7. There are plenty of other retail units sitting empty. What we need is energy efficient homes. If this development can provide those then I am all for it. Plus more upmarket apartments will bring in wealthier footfall in a much needed area. I believe the shops should be compensated for their losses and costs of moving but like most commercial lets, they are only for so long. Something will need to be done to help with parking in the area.

    • The parking situation can be improved by weaning people away from private car ownership.
      This continued demand for more and more “free” public parking for private motor cars is not sustainable.
      A few years ago, many homes in a street had a car. Now most homes in the street have two, three or more cars per household.
      Every time a piece of land is used for parking, it means homes cannot be built.

  8. Surely they need to factor in underground parking for the flats and Commercial units as the Meeting Street Car Park is well used now. There are many homes already surrounding the car park and very few available on street parking places available in the immediate area.

  9. Better to work with than against planning departments whether you like the development or not.
    It’s difficult to work with TDC planning though.
    Objecting without looking at the rules for injecting will get nowhere as a developer can win on appeal.
    If I was a tenant I would be discussing how it’s all going to work and trying to get the best for my business and the town.

  10. Parking is a huge issue in this area. No parking provision will cram the already over busy side streets. It is extremely noticeable during school holidays how many spaces are free because Clarendon & Chatham School isn’t open and filling up the local streets. Often I have to park 10 mins walk from my house and developments with 40 flats will come with at least, if not more than 40, cars. The centre of Ramsgate cannot accommodate this unless there is a controlled parking and residents parking scheme.

    The schools can then be challenged to sort out their own parking issues.

    Anyone recently taking on a shop and refurbishing it is bound to be worried as they are unlikely to be compensated for that investment.

  11. No need to be for or against, this can be regarded as a starting point. Community provision and investment is really important
    We need more than well insulated buildings and parking places to live happily. Once disrupted the relationships, provision of facilities and ways of life established by different community shops/ clubs/ classes are difficult to get going again. These mean a lot to people.and should not be disregarded. Our local health and educational provision is under strain. Each development should contribute something to this need. It does seem foolhardy to tear down , rather repurpose . Spend more on better planning appropriate to today it feels very old fashioned and wasteful to reduce to rubble what is there already. That approach may be more convenient for construction companies and cheaper in the first instance but when viewed over a longer period it seems very profligate in use of resources.

  12. Weaning people off car ownership is simply not realistic.

    Public transport via bus is getting worse, not better. Trains are not a like for like alternative. There are no charging points apart from a few in supermarkets. People need cars for their childcare, their disabilities, their caring responsibilities and their work, often outside Thanet. Ban all car ownership is simply unrealistic and unnecessary.

    This development can build an underground car park or arrangement with TDC for their over priced, under maintained and often empty car parks and why are they empty? No residents parking zones so why bother to pay?

    And around in circles we go.

  13. I am all for it more people living in the town = more people in the town, perhaps someone will be tempted to open in the empty units in the town centre, the only issue is parking

    Great idea I have looked at the site this morning and anything will be an improvement.

  14. People have very short memories. This use a row of small businesses. My father had the corner shop and sold draperies,next-door was Mike’s TV and repair shop,knights the wet fish shop, Brown’s the bakers, Smiths the butchers and roses the green grocers. Dixons threw us all out and they were ruthless. Nobody cared then and they won’t now

  15. Heidi Moran sums it up well: “The top of the High Street is just starting to thrive with galleries, shops, cafes and more. The disruption would be immense to surrounding businesses- road closures, noise, no access to the public car park behind and dust for months.

    Where are the facilities to support this many new “luxury flats?” Doctors, dentists, hospitals are already full or stretched. Schools already don’t have enough places for current local children. Most flats will have 1-2 cars, where will these cars park?”

    The disruption would last more than months and the center of Ramsgate would be chaotic. Having moved to George Street late last year we have only just go over the constant noise from the building works and trucks at the end of Cavendish Street.
    And how many of these flats will end up as airb’n’b?

    Little thought – other than profit – has gone into this plan and there are plenty of empty commercial premises on th High Street just waiting for development.

  16. well they could build by danevalley instead of seeing bushes by the allotments it would defo be worth looking into I reckon

  17. I have looked at the planning application documents , and think that the proposed development would be- visually at least- a great improvement on the existing 1980s building, which is grossly out of place in this conservation area.

    The number of flats is a different matter. Presumably this is being discussed by the council.

    • Agree totally with Gregory Irvine’s comments. The uprooting of businesses and peoples lives in addition to the charity shops which provide an income stream to well deserving causes just about sums things up for me and why after 16 years I have given up on Ramsgate and Thanet!

      Finally as regards Marva Rees and her utterings I suggest you take a vow of silence for a little while as you seem to be a prolific poster on a range of issues which you seem to have little insight into. There is a saying ‘Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt’ Maybe instead of posting on here on nearly a daily basis you could do some litter picking on your way to the town centre?

      • I think if you’ve a reasonable opinion, or factual evidence to support your argument, then use it.
        To resort to ad hominem personal abuse says that you’ve run out of ideas.

      • “There is a saying ‘Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt’”
        Quite so.

  18. Well well! As expected I have drawn criticism from Andrew and Ms Quot or whatever her name is and of course Marva Rees who would post just to pass the day! Maybe some litter picking for the three of you!

  19. Well well! What a surprise I have drawn fire from Andrew and Ms Quot or whatever her name is and of course Marva Rees who I think posts just to pass the day! Your criticism means a lot to me I obviously get under your skin.

    All three of you are a little tiresome with all your pontificating maybe you could all litter pick for an hour or so in your area?

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